High health risk from blood poisoning

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Experts warn of the health risk of blood poisoning (sepsis)

Blood poisoning is responsible for more deaths in Germany than breast or colon cancer. To date, experts warn that the health risk of sepsis is too often underestimated.

With around 60,000 deaths per year, sepsis is the third leading cause of death in Germany. Intensive care physician Konrad Reinhart from Jena University Hospital, board member of the "Global Sepsis Alliance", a worldwide association of sepsis experts, explained that blood poisoning, like heart attacks or strokes, is a medical emergency in which every hour counts. But the health risk of blood poisoning is often handled too lightly in this country.

Blood poisoning is a complex systemic inflammatory reaction. Sepsis develops as a complex systemic inflammatory reaction if the body's own antibodies do not manage an infection. For example, inflammation of the lungs or kidney pelvis can quickly affect the entire body if the immune system fails, and possibly lead to organ failure, explained Konrad Reinhart. The expert is leading a study, with 40 participating hospitals nationwide, which, as a quality offensive, has been used since December last year to provide information, further training and training for doctors and nurses in order to minimize any delays in sepsis treatment. The federal government is contributing around 1.2 million euros to the four-year study. The Jena University Hospital, of which Konrad Reinhart is a member, is one of the leading institutions in sepsis research. A 5.4 million euro laboratory building will be built here at the Center for Integrated Sepsis Research by autumn.

150,000 blood poisonings per year in Germany The expert from the University Hospital Jena explained that around a third of the 150,000 sepsis diseases in Germany occur outside of hospitals every year. Reinhart emphasized that it often takes far too long for a corresponding diagnosis of blood poisoning to be available. Because the unspecific symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath or low blood pressure are especially difficult for inexperienced doctors to recognize as signs of sepsis, explained Reinhart. "It is our goal that all patients should be treated with antibiotics and circulatory support measures in the first hour after diagnosis," continued the specialist from the University Hospital Jena. Because with every hour gained, the mortality rate of the patient can be reduced by eight percent, emphasized Reinhart.

Infection spreads through the bloodstream Because the spread of the infection - usually via the bloodstream - poses the real danger to patient survival, early treatment can significantly increase the chances of survival for those affected. The more the infection spreads in the organism, the more critical the situation becomes for those affected. The experts explain that the inflammatory reaction that actually makes sense for a local infection is now the actual motor of sepsis. In an excessive reaction of the organism, large amounts of transfer agents would be released, which would lead to the fact that the inflammation affects the entire body. This leads to symptoms such as swelling, poor circulation and lack of oxygen without the pathogens being combated. According to the expert, the affected organs lose their function and as soon as vital organs fail, the chances of survival for the patient are extremely poor.

Septic shock and multi-organ failure due to blood poisoning A septic shock as a possible consequence of blood poisoning is one of the particularly threatening developments that sepsis can take. Blood poisoning reduces the blood circulation in the capillaries and the tissue is under-supplied with oxygen, which in the end could lead to massive metabolic disorders. In addition, according to the experts, coagulation disorders, multi-organ failure or septic settlements in the brain (can lead to inflammation in the brain) are possible consequences of blood poisoning. In any case, sepsis therefore requires intensive medical treatment as quickly as possible and those affected should urgently consult a doctor at the first signs. (fp)

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio.de

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